Thus far, Hawkeye has pretty much owned the year of 2012 in the world of Marvel. He’s an integral part of the main Avengers team and is thus playing a big role in the currently unfolding 12-part Avengers vs. X-Men event series. He’s also leading the team in Secret Avengers, getting professorial in Avengers Academy and buddying up with Steve Rogers for an arc of Captain America and Hawkeye. And — oh yeah! — being portrayed by Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner in May’s increasingly inescapable Avengers film.
There is really only one land left unconquered for Clint Barton at this point, and that’s his own ongoing series — which he’s getting, starting this August. As announced Saturday afternoon during the “Cup O’ Joe” panel at the C2E2 convention in Chicago (and teased in a promo image last week), Hawkeye is from the creative team of writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, who worked together (along with co-writer Ed Brubaker) a few years back on The Immortal Iron Fist.
The series, Hawkeye’s first solo series since 2004, pairs Clint with Kate Bishop — the Hawkeye of the Young Avengers — to take on street-level conflicts that the Avengers don’t have time to tackle. Newsarama talked with Fraction via email for more.Newsarama: Matt, you've always got a lot of stuff going on at once, and you're now taking on Hawkeye, another ongoing series. Are you simply at a spot, workflow-wise, where you can accommodate another book, or is it taking the space of something else in your schedule? (An Iron Man-shaped space, perhaps?)
Matt Fraction: Yeah, I mean — I'm actually sorta less busy now than I've been recently. S'okay.
Nrama: Hawkeye is a character you haven't necessarily been associated with in the past — what qualities in the character appeal to you? (I mean, who doesn't like Hawkeye, right?)
Fraction: Well, I got to write Kate once, and really fell in love with her; and what I got into with Clint was Clint. His "Hawkeye" stuff is very thoroughly covered excellently and elsewhere; our book is about Clint and Kate, and why and how they choose to be heroes.
Nrama: To that end, it looks like Hawkeye has a very clear agenda in this story, one that separates him from the Avengers. How important is it to define Hawkeye as unique and independent in this series, rather than what he's most famous for being — a part of the Avengers?
Fraction: I think Hawkeye's being really excellently defined, whether it's what Rick [Remender]'s doing in Secret Avengers or his rocksteady presence in Avengers Assemble and so on — but Clint, the guy underneath it all, is what we're about. The man beneath the mask, the why's behind it all. What does he do when he's not at work? What kind of man is Clint Barton? Some of the best moments of the character's history were Clint moments, y'know?
Nrama: And given the nature of the character and his goals in this series — saving people other superheroes can't — would it be proper to characterize this series as a little more grounded than typical superhero material?
Fraction: It's not so much can't, but don't, for all the pyrotechnics and scale and special effects of the other books we do with Hawkeye in them. Small-scale, real world stuff. The idea of dropping this damaged idealist and reformed con turned inadvertent SOO PER HEE RO into the middle of a world of drug gangs, human slavery, shadow economies, homelessness, criminal bankruptcies, personal ruin, and all the other below-the-fold scams and scandals that screw up life every day for people like you and me was just too good not to want to write.
Kang comes, you call the Avengers. Weird post-Soviet Euro-gang running an ethnic protection racket in your neighborhood? Avengers are busy with Kang. Y'know? It's as grounded as Clint is grounded.Nrama: A huge aspect of this is that you're reuniting with David Aja. How has it been picking things back up with him, in what is seemingly a very different book than Immortal Iron Fist?
Fraction: It's been excellent! I wanted to keep trying writing Marvel style [plot first, art, then script] for him (well, my version of it) since David'll just toss out that stuff anyway. It's made me a lot looser and it's put him in control of the storytelling in a really big way. It's very much the Marvel book he was born to draw. So it has been totally different but we've found our way right back into sync, I think.
Nrama: Cool to hear that Kate Bishop has a role in the book — would you say she's essentially a co-star in the series? And will that perhaps mean appearances from a few other of the Young Avengers, or is she pretty solidly on her own? (And will she get a new codename, since "Hawkeye" is clearly being used by the title character?)
Fraction: Yes — we could almost call it Hawkeyes — but no, it's very much about the two of them as the Steed-and-Peel "Avengers." And no, I think she's keeping the name until Clint pries it out of her cold, dead fingers.
Nrama: It appears that Hawkeye will be drawing the attention of "villains new and old" in the series — you had a lot of fun revamping Iron Man villains recently, can you share at this point about any of the established villains we'll see here?
Fraction: No. But part of the fun is adding stuff to the Marvel U, as well as modernizing and updating. There are a few big-bads planned.
Nrama: Also, with adding new villains, is there an attempt to maybe give Hawkeye his own personal rogues gallery more than he has had in the past?
Fraction: Yes! Yes, exactly. Very much so.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!